How To Shop Sustainably For A Holiday Abroad

After a tumultuous six months in lockdown, I decided to safely escape to Greece for a few days.
When packing for a holiday abroad, I tend to pack a mix of old and new items. Despite this, I am in no means a stranger to the pre-holiday impulse buy. Often we buy unnecessary items with the excuse of it being a special time, and thus a justifiable purchase. More often than not, we don’t truly need or want these purchases.

I knew, for this trip, there weren’t many things I desperately needed or wanted. The majority of things I took, I already owned, with just a few extra bits I wanted to add to my long-term summer wardrobe.
I set out to source these pieces as sustainably as I possibly could, and thought I’d share a variety of ways you can shop sustainably for your holiday too.

Accessories

I’m very particular when it comes to accessories; even when thrifting, I tend to have a precise idea of what I want. As I’m utterly obsessed with seventies styles at the moment, I knew there were two items I desperately wanted to add to my summer wardrobe: a tennis visor and a big pair of retro sunglasses. Seeking out two niche and specific pieces meant I knew foraging around my local charity shop was likely to render unsuccessful and a waste of time.

When you’re searching for something ultra-specific, you need to look online. I purchased both these items from eBay. eBay is a haven of unique, retro, and vintage accessories– I guarantee you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for on there, all it takes is a little searching and scrolling.

Swimwear

We have a whole article on places to buy sustainable swimwear which you can find here. I would say the two things that are super easy to abide by when trying to invest in sustainable swimwear are: make sure you’ll wear the piece multiple times, and try to look for swimwear made from recycled plastics. Make sure your purchase suits your style, makes you feel good and is the highest quality you can invest in.

Discover the brands selling sustainable swimwear from recycled plastics here.

Clothes

There are various options when it comes to buying sustainable clothing. When shopping online, I tend to have the most success with Depop. Depop is excellent if you’re a frequent high street buyer; you can find brand new, high street clothing at a reduced price. Depop can also be great for discovering one of a kind, unique pieces. If you have something in mind, the chances are you’ll be able to track it down and buy it hassle-free on Depop.

I know loads of people that love buying clothes from eBay. Ebay is home to lots of independent sellers and vintage brands. Many of these sell bespoke pieces that you can’t find anywhere else.
From personal experience, the varsity of eBay means it can be a little more challenging and time-consuming to locate the great sellers and garments. I’ve also encountered lots of ads for mass-produced items which can take time and effort to sieve through.
If you’ve got the time and the patience, or if you’re super keen to find that stand out piece, eBay could be the platform for you.

I adore thrifting. I’m a lover of physical shopping, and as our high street continues to struggle, and I increasingly find myself compromised by the ethics of big brands, charity and second-hand shops have provided some much-needed solace. There’s nothing like searching through a rack of preloved garments and finding something that fits your wardrobe perfectly. Thrifting at physical locations, with a particular outfit or item in mind, can be difficult. I’d advise open-mindedness, staying positive, and simply enjoying the experience– you might end up finding what you’re looking for, or something you never knew you needed.

Books

I’m keen to support any industry that sells books and keeps the publishing industry alive, but when aiming to be sustainable, charity shops or second-hand sellers on eBay are the best places to find your next read. Second-hand books are enriched, not only by their stories but the physical life of the book itself. I adore reading inscriptions and notes from previous owners of a book; it gives a great insight into the world and powers of literature. As a student, I tend to look on eBay for specific copies and editions of books, but as a book lover, I relish in scanning the bookshelves of charity shops for unexpected gems.

Flying

If you’re flying from a British airport, you’ll need to put any toiletries from your hand luggage in a clear plastic wallet/bag. Invest in a translucent reusable toiletries bag that you can use for any flights you might have now or in the future.
Reusable face masks! Face masks are mandatory on all public transport, including flights and your time spent at the airport. Make sure you invest in a reusable face mask, rather than using multiple single-use masks. Here you can find a list of independent brands selling cute, reusable, fabric face masks.

Of course, the most sustainable way of living is to cut down on your consumerism. This isn’t always viable or preferable, which is why I put this guide together; to make small conscious changes, rather than struggling towards unattainable big ones. Going abroad is an exciting time, and so the impulse to spend and indulge a little more is likely to be there– this is not something to feel guilty about.
It is important to make sure the purchases you do make are carefully thought through and evaluated. I have a few outfits in my wardrobe that I define as my holiday and summer looks. I wouldn’t be able to style these in winter, but I know I’ll wear them summer after summer. Being British, this tends to be a viable system; our limited days of sun and warmth mean we can wear our summer outfits year after year, rarely tiring of them. If you’re lucky enough to live in a warmer climate, this is even better; you can invest in clothes you’ll be able to enjoy at home and abroad.

Wearing clothes and outfits you already own shouldn’t diminish the joy they bring.

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